Trip to Amherst for Matches Against the Jeffs and Western Ontario Awaits No. 3 Men's Squash Saturday

Trip to Amherst for Matches Against the Jeffs and Western Ontario Awaits No. 3 Men's Squash Saturday

Gary Power is 4-2 this season playing primarily at the No. 3 position on the ladder (Gil Talbot). 

Scene Setter
The No. 3 Harvard men's squash team makes the short trip to Amherst to take on the No. 23 Jeffs and No. 11 Western Ontario in the Pioneer Round Robin.   

Last Time Out
The Crimson went 1-1 in Ivy League play over the weekend to go to 2-1 overall in the conference. Harvard began the weekend by dominating No. 13 Penn, 9-0, and sweeping all nine matches 3-0 from the Quakers before facing top-ranked Princeton. In a showdown at Jadwin Squash Courts, Harvard came up just short, dropping a 5-4 decision to the Tigers. Ali Farag earned a 3-1 win over All-American Todd Harrity at the No. 1 position, while Jason Michas and Tommy Mullaney both recorded sweeps to improve to 6-0 on the year. Zeke Scherl also picked up a win at No. 7 for the Crimson, but it wasn't enough to topple the reigning national champions. 

Related Article: No. 3 Harvard Routs No. 13 Penn, 9-0
Related Article: No. 3 Men's Squash Comes Up Just Short Against No. 1 Princeton, 5-4

About No. 3 Harvard
Harvard sits at 8-1 overall and 2-1 in the Ivy League entering the weekend. Junior Ali Farag continues to lead the Crimson, boasting a 5-0 mark on the season at the No. 1 position. Senior Jason Michas and junior Tommy Mullaney are tied for the team-lead with six wins apiece, while Zeke Scherl, Matt Roberts, Sam Goldberg and Brandon McLaughlin are all 5-1.

Zeroing In
Harvard swept its first three opponents of the season for the 21st time in program history before finally losing a match to No. 6 Rochester. The three consecutive sweeps to begin a year is the longest streak since Harvard swept the first four matches of 2006-07. Harvard's program record for consecutive shutouts to begin a season is six, which it did it 2004-05, 1991-92 and 1972-73. The program record for shutouts in a season is 12, set by the 1991-92 team and equaled by the 1994-95 squad. Thus far, Harvard has swept seven of its nine opponents with No. 5 Rochester and No. 1 Princeton winning the only matches against the Crimson.

Coach's View
Assistant coach Luke Hammond is now blogging to give fans an inside perspective of the Harvard men's and women's squash teams. The blog will be periodically updated throughout the season, recapping the latest results and highlighting other interesting tidbits about the squad.

Related Link: Harvard Squash Blog 

Undefeated Ali
Junior Ali Farag is a perfect 21-0 in his Harvard squash career. The Egypt native went 16-0 last season, including an 11-0 mark at the No. 1 position, en route to the individual CSA title and is off to a 5-0 start this year after picking up wins against Dartmouth, Rochester, Bates, Penn and Princeton.

About No. 23 Amherst (Team Page)
The Jeffs are just 3-5 overall and on a three-game losing streak after falling to Bowdoin 8-1 Wednesday night. The squad topped Northeastern and MIT, 9-0, and edged Connecticut College, 5-4, but has dropped decisions to Drexel, George Washington, Middlebury, Bates and Bowdoin. Amherst does field a young squad with four upperclassmen, five sophomores and six freshmen on the roster. Rookie Noah Brown has assumed the No. 1 position on the team, and second team All-NESCAC selection Scott DeSantis has moved to No. 3.

Series History Against Amherst
The Crimson is undefeated against Amherst, winning all 48 matches in the series dating back to 1941. After a seven year hiatus, the series was renewed last year, and Harvard prevailed 9-0 at home. 

About No. 11 Western Ontario (Team Page)
The Mustangs bring a 7-2 mark into the weekend after besting Brown, 8-1, Wednesday. Western Ontario has also defeated Stanford, Williams, McGill, Toronto, Queens and Concordia this year, while dropping a 5-4 decision to the US Naval Academy and a 6-3 verdict to Cornell.

All-Time Record vs. Western Ontario
Harvard holds a 13-1 advantage in the all-time series, winning the last 13 matches after dropping the first match 5-4 in 1977. In the last meeting between the two schools, Harvard prevailed, 8-1, Jan. 13, 2011.

Successful Starts
Harvard is 56-1 in its last 57 opening matches dating back to 1956. Harvard started the year 8-0 for the second straight season after beginning last year 10-0.

Meet the Captains
Jason Michas and Zeke Scherl were voted co-captains for the 2012-13 season. Michas, who also served as a co-captain last year, went 11-2 last season playing in a variety of positions for the Crimson, while Scherl was 12-6 overall after playing in five different spots.

Welcome Back
Harvard returns nearly everybody from last year's squad with Will Ahmed '12 serving as the lone exception. Defending national champion Ali Farag returns for his junior season after posting an 11-0 mark at the No. 1 position and 16-0 record overall in his inaugural campaign in Cambridge. He's joined by fellow All-American Brandon McLaughlin, who finished 10-8. Overall, Harvard returns 97.6 percent (160/164) of its matches won in 2011-12.

Third is the Word
In the CSA preseason rankings, Harvard was ranked as the third best team in college squash. The Crimson sits behind No. 1 Princeton and No. 2 Trinity, who finished in those positions to conclude last season, as well.

Related Article: Men's Squash Ranked No. 3 in CSA Preseason Rankings

New Faces
Six freshmen have joined the squad for the 2012-13 season. They are Walker EvansSam GoldbergPeter JanulisJake MatthewsMatt Roberts and James Watkins. The sextet hails from four states (Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut) and three countries (the United States, South Africa and the United Kingdom).

Last Season
Harvard outlasted Cornell, 5-4, in the third-place match of the CSA Team Championships in Princeton, N.J. Ali Farag breezed to an easy victory at No. 1, while then-junior captain No. 8 Jason Michas and then-sophomore No. 2 Brandon McLaughlin both rallied from 2-0 deficits to lift Harvard past the Big Red.

Leading the Way
Mike Way, The Gregory Lee '87 and Russell Ball '88 Endowed Coach for Squash at Harvard University, returns for his third season at the helm of the Crimson. In just over two seasons, his teams have posted a combined 33-11 mark, including a 16-4 record last year. Both of his assistants, Reg Schonborn and Luke Hammond, are back for 2012-13, as well.

Related Video: Men's Squash Looks to Build on Success in 2012-13

Up Next
Harvard jumps back into Ivy League play with matches against Columbia and Cornell Feb. 2 and 3.